Monthly Archives: April 2014

5 Steps to Reinvention

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Simply put, many of us look to do some reinvention. Whether it is for New Year’s or before annual performance reviews, we reinvent in order to stay ahead and grow in our chosen professions.

Regardless of what the reasons you have may be, you do have reasons. Therefore, act like you have them. Look at the process like you would a fresh start or, if you prefer, a clean slate. It allows you to approach a scenario as if seeing it for the first time.

So, let’s start at the start –

Step 1. Where do I want to go? Right now.

Not so easy, is it? Just think about what it is that you want. In detail.

A generalized goal isn’t really a goal. Your ambition should have some precision and focus. You can and will adjust along the way, but you should aim as best as you can beforehand.

Step 2. Why do you want this? Your reasons need to be understood fully. It helps both as a motivational tool and as an actual purpose. Having a sense of purpose is a prime mover, and it often makes the difference between success and “never gonna happen.”

Step 3. Where am I right now? At this moment.

Make an honest assessment of yourself. No coulda, shoulda, woulda. After all, reinvention is about you. If you want to understand and achieve Step 1, you need a (real) start point. Do a full 360 degrees assessment. So… your mental mirror shows you as what?

Step 4. What do I need to do now?

In order to get there, you need to know what’s next. Are you going to wing it? Are you going to plot out your course and get alignment along with those around you who can help make this happen?

This can be either the easiest or the most difficult part of the reinvention. Planning comes easy for some. It is like brain surgery for others. For most of us, however, it usually comes down to asking ourselves the right questions

Start with the question of need. What needs must be satisfied (and for whom) in order for this to work? If you can address this well, you’ll know what tools you’ll need for success. The rest will follow.

Step 5. Do it. I mean now!

 

Post by Rick Zimmerman  – C2C Senior Facilitator

Starting With The End In Mind

end in mind

We, the members of the training fraternity, have often been treated as ‘Training Order-takers’. We are invited for meetings with business and told – this is the training need, this many people need to be trained, by this date. That’s it. End of order. We are expected to design a program that will be fun and informative and suddenly people will start behaving differently.

What we don’t know at this point is – what is the need for the training. What result is expected as a result of people undergoing this training? The result may not necessarily be monetary, it could be improved customer satisfaction, enhanced efficiency at work, employee satisfaction through performing their jobs in a simple manner or anything at all relevant to the organization. That’s why speaking of Return on Expectations and not only of Return on Investment, makes better sense.

It is incumbent on us as performance consultants to dig deep and find out from business what exactly this ‘Big flag at the top of the mountain’ is. What is it that they want to achieve as a result of the program? That is the end result we need to work towards.

With that end in mind, we need to do further analysis of the need to figure out what behaviors need to change in order to achieve the desired result. The more clarity we have with regard to the end result, the more focused our training design can be to achieve the desired result.

This approach is particularly useful for mission critical programs that can truly help the business if successful or end up causing incredible damage is they fail to achieve the result.

Having said all this, we also need to keep in mind that not all programs run in an organization are mission critical programs. Does that mean that we ignore the result for these programs? Does it mean it is okay to take orders for these programs and run them since that’s what the business needs?

As conscientious members of the team, it is still imperative that we find out what is prompting the need for a particular program and design accordingly. It may be a highly generic program on communication skills that every manager in the organization needs to attend. We can still have discussions with business heads and find out why exactly the idea for this program came up. Was it something that come up during the performance appraisal cycle, or something that a lot of people requested for, or a gut feeling from someone that we need to improve our communication skills! Whatever the reasoning may be, there is some reasoning involved and we need to unearth that.

Knowing the result expected from a program will help us show ‘Return on Expectation’ – Business expected X result and we have been able to provide X result. We have little indicators along the way that show us whether we are reaching the desired result or not. These indicators help us make changes/adjustments to the program to finally reach the desired result.

The idea is not to fly blind or design program with our blinkers on. The idea is know exactly where we want to get to and make constant checks to see if we are heading in the right direction.

Post by Preethi Rao – C2C Training Effectiveness Specialist and Certified Kirkpatrick Facilitator

Too Many Leaders, Not Enough Leadership

 

Leadership

This post is adapted from an article published in People Matters

Everyone is a leader”. We have seen this statement so many times that we have all begun to believe it. For a while now HR, senior business executives, management gurus and OD Consultants have spent considerable intellectual time distinguishing the characteristics of managers and leaders and creating a list of attributes that define leadership.

In organizations, HR and OD practitioners published lists of competencies and leadership profiles for employees to be measured as part of the annual performance management process. The result is a good start – Teams, business groups and entire organizations all have plenty of leaders who check items off the competency checklist. We have begun to fundamentally change the language we use and call our upline managers – “leaders”. Even if we do call them as managers, the N+2 or N+3 are often referred to as leaders. This is a good start and definitely does create a culture and message for making a strong and developing pipeline of leaders.

We are missing one key factor though. What we are missing is leadership. As Michael Jordan once said “Earn your leadership everyday”.

We need to take a step back and remind ourselves that leaders need to be learning and earning their leadership every day. Leadership moments are recognized after an event has occurred when teams step back and say “now that was good leadership”. Every day, leading other people evolves in our life experiences in ways that we may not realize. Sometimes we may not remember our leadership of other people. We may have influenced someone and the reality is that we may forget a moment of influence completely. On the other hand, those we have helped or encouraged never forget our actions and remember our leadership moment. I would encourage all readers to watch a brilliant TEDx Talk by Drew Dudley who talks about everyday leadership in just over six minutes.

Do we not say leaders “Do the right things” while managers “do things right”? Do we spend enough time on helping employees reflect on the “right things” and reflecting on what has been done?

So here is a task for organizational HR – Help your company celebrate leadership every day.

It is critical for HR to work with business executives to create an environment where we celebrate leadership continuously. It is easy to feel discouraged when an employee feels that s/he are doing the right things, but don’t see the reward right away. Employee recognition and appreciation programs don’t do enough and usually focus on performance-metric driven recognitions; instead they should focus on the leadership moments.

This is where everyday leadership recognition comes in. Let us ensure that we do recognize the “early adopter”, “the change influencer or enabler”, “the energy creator”, “the motivator”, “the team glue”, “the brilliant workaround idea to a problem” and all other leadership moments for demonstrating leadership skills as and when that happens. We can all do a better job of helping our business executives and managers in calling out those leadership moments. We need a culture where when we see a leadership moment, we need to stop recognize, applaud, and celebrate the person who exhibited it. The power of encouraging this is not just higher engagement of employees but also the creation of true everyday leadership. This is when we see “everyone is a leader”.

Remember “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it is amazing what they can accomplish” – Sam Walton. Here is the HR imperative – let us take a leadership role in helping everyone celebrate everyday leadership.

Post by Vinay Kumar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

People don’t learn from experience; they learn from reflecting on their experience.

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I am a firm believer that activities alone are not enough for most training participants to extract meaningful learning that they can then apply to the real world. In my view, activities are are just an excuse for a good debriefing discussion, not the other way around. This is why when our clients ask us whether their participants will play games, my answer is always “No, but they will participate in experiential activities from which they will be able to extract learning.”

Personally, I still think that Thiagis 6 phases of Debriefing is the best way to structure this eminently important aspect of effective training. Here are the 6 phases below

Phase 1: How Do You Feel?

This phase gives the participants an opportunity to get strong feelings and emotion off their chest. It makes it easier for them to be more objective during the later phases.

Begin this phase with a broad question that invites the participants to get in touch with their feelings about the activity and its outcomes. Encourage them to share these feelings, listening actively to one another in a nonjudgmental fashion.

Phase 2: What Happened?

In this phase, collect data about what happened during the activity. Encourage the participants to compare and contrast their recollections and to draw general conclusions during the next phase.

Begin this phase with a broad question that asks the participants to recall important events from the training activity. Create and post a chronological list of events. Ask questions about specific events.

Phase 3: What Did You Learn?

In this phase, encourage the participants to generate and test different hypotheses. Ask the participants to come up with principles based on the activity and discuss them.

Begin this phase by presenting a principle and asking the participants for data that supports or rejects it. Then invite the participants to offer other principles based on their experiences.

Phase 4: How Does This Relate To The Real World?

In this phase, discuss the relevance of the activity to the participants’ real-world experiences.

Begin with a broad question about the relationship between the experiential learning activity and events in the workplace. Suggest that the activity is a metaphor and ask participants to offer real-world analogies.

Phase 5: What If?

In this phase, encourage the participants to apply their insights to new contexts. Use alternative scenarios to speculate on how people’s behaviors would change.

Begin this phase with a change scenario and ask the participants to speculate on how it would have affected the process and the outcomes of the activity. Then invite the participants to offer their own scenarios and discuss them.

Phase 6: What Next?

In this phase, ask the participants to undertake action planning. Ask them to apply their insights from the experiential activity to the real world.

Begin this phase by asking the participants to suggest strategies for use in future rounds of the activity. Then ask the participants how they will change their real-world behavior as a result of the insights gained from the activity.

Honestly, anyone with decent presentation skills and a bit of common sense can conduct a training program, and give participants a good time but that has never made it a relevant learning experience. Professional trainers focus on the discussions that they facilitate for learners to extract their own learning, and that is a skill that needs to be developed over time.

7 Steps to Effective Change Management

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The old adage about “If you continue to do things the way you did, you would continue to get the same results” is now outdated. The world is moving at a phenomenal speed – thanks to globalization and technology innovation. Even to keep up the existing level, one has to change.

Change can be tough, and scary, but the good news is that you can learn the skills to manage change, not only for yourself but also on how to manage it with the team around you.

Now that we have established the need to change and manage change, let us look at what happens in the process of managing change.

  1. Change causes discomfort and often leads to frustration. Needless to say, in a situation like this, people are going to “fly-off-the-handle” and this would give rise to conflict. Conflict handling would thus be one key component in managing change.
  2. Change means innovating, creating new ways of doing the same things to increase efficiencies. This area is about process improvements through innovation.
  3. Change means doing things in a way that adds value to the customer. It is no longer limited to delivering as per customer’s plans, but working towards “how do I make my customer successful?” This calls for creative problem solving.
  4. To initiate change and to have it accepted by the team, one would need to be able to present the situation. Having a good skill that can help you make your presentations with impact would go a long way in being the pillar around which change can take place.
  5. Ensuring that you are on the right track of change management, one would need to be able to make decisions based on the ability to question yourself and the data available before you. The skill in rapid decision making is one that can help you lead the change process with the confidence that you are making the right moves.
  6. As the change process is triggered one would need to work together in teams and often helping each other through effective coaching.
  7. Giving and receiving feedback would be another area that can create a difference as you would need to communicate and receive information during the time when you are tracking the effectiveness of the change process.

To be able to handle change management effectively you would need to equip yourself with skills on conflict handling, process improvements through innovation, creative problem solving, presentations with impact, rapid decision making, effective coaching, and giving and receiving feedback are needed.

Post by Sanjay Dugar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant